I had to write this post even though I know every man and his dog has already had their say on Social Media. In fact, that's exactly why I have to write this. Heck, America is not even my country but the stories have been clogging my Facebook feed all week, and the comments on those stories - the awful ugly comments - have literally made me sick. Actually vomitous. Like, I am lying awake at night feeling very upset.
So America has legalised gay marriage and the sky has started falling. No? OK, the end is near, fire is on it's way from Heaven, God is very upset and so is every Christian pastor who is worried he might be forced to marry gay people.... Come on!
Oh my goodness, the backlash! Is it true what my friend told me that a Texas pastor actually threatened to set himself on fire if the law was passed?
People! What the heck??!!!
My country, little ole New Zealand, legalised gay marriage back in 2013, and guess what? The sky didn't fall. The end didn't come, there was NO FIRE FROM HEAVEN to destroy us all.
Also, I've not heard of one Christian pastor who has been forced against his will to marry a gay couple.
Even stranger, the teachers at my kids' school who are gay didn't suddenly start forcing their gayness on their students. My kids are completely oblivious to the fact that some of their teachers are gay. Because guess what? The teachers are there to teach, and that's what they do. Their personal lives do not come into it. It's none of our business.
Why do I feel like I have to write a response to the outpourings of hate and judgement I have seen in my Facebook feed? Because I want to make it very clear to the people I know and love who are gay (and my straight friends who have gay people that they love) that the haters do not represent me.
And more importantly, THEY DO NOT REPRESENT JESUS EITHER.
I'm actually ashamed to be associated with that kind of hate. I'm a Christian, I'm a regular, committed church-goer. I believe (and try to live by) the Bible, I love Jesus and I want more than anything else for other people to know him too. Because he is awesome.
But when so-called Christians spout hate and judgement, the only thing that happens is that the very people Jesus loves and wants to draw close to him are alienated and repelled by those who claim to represent him.
Who are we to judge, people?
It's not our job.
Jesus specifically said it more than once: "Judge not or you will be judged."
Also: "I didn't come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it."
When Jesus was here on earth, he was constantly criticised by the religious leaders about the company he kept. The super-religious people and "Pharisees" who reckoned themselves righteous couldn't handle the fact that Jesus chose to be friends with people they considered unworthy and unclean.
It really got up their noses, but Jesus didn't care what they thought.
Instead, he challenged their self-righteous attitudes over and over again.
He called them "a brood of vipers" and "whitewashed tombs" among other pithy descriptions.
They looked all nice and clean-cut on the outside but inside they were a roiling mess of hate and hypocrisy.
I reckon if Jesus were walking round today telling parables to confront us "self-righteous" Christians about our attitude, he might tell the parable of "The Good Gay Guy" (ya know, instead of "the Good Samaritan?") just to make his point.
Jesus was like that. When a self-righteous mob dragged a woman in front of Jesus who had been caught "in the very act" of adultery, Jesus told them "If you are without sin, cast the first stone."
Not one person threw even a pebble. And neither did Jesus, even though he could have.
See that's the thing. None of us is without sin. Sin is not a popular word these days, but let me clarify what that word actually means: it means "missing the mark." It means NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.
So can we Christians please stop all the judging and hater-ing and get on with what Jesus actually asked us to do?
He said (and I quote): "The world will know you are my followers because you love one another."
No wonder the world doesn't want anything to do with Christianity. The world is rejecting Jesus because they see the way we Christians are carrying on. They think, "if that's Jesus, I don't want a bar of it."
Christians - it's not our job to make the world live by the Church's teachings. It's our job to demonstrate God's love. To have compassion, to be Jesus' hands and feet, to lift up the downtrodden, to comfort the brokenhearted, to care for the needy. And to LOVE.
Don't ask questions, don't make a judgement on who is worthy or not, just love and leave the rest up to God.
Not one single heart has ever been changed by passing a law.
Changing hearts is God's job, LOVING is ours.
(That's why Jesus came: the Law failed - it only pushed us away from God; Jesus came to draw us close to God and show us what God was like = LOVE).
And please stop justifying judgment with that awful saying: "Love the sinner, hate the sin."
NO. It should be:"LOVE THE PERSON, leave the rest to God."
Can't we trust him to work in hearts with his grace? Isn't he big enough? The judging is NEVER our job. Right now, too many Christians are being flippin' Pharisees. It has to stop.
My unchurchy friends, please accept my apology on belief of the haters.
They do not represent me and they do not represent Jesus.
I want you to know that God sees no difference between gay, straight, black, white, young, old. He sees us all in our brokenness and humanity and wants every one of us to know Him. There is no barrier - Jesus died for all, and loves all equally.
I just had to get that out, so I can sleep at night.
Cos I'd hate for you to write off Jesus just because his followers can be jerks.
(BTW THIS POST written by an American Pastor is well worth a read)
P.S. You might not agree with me, but just so ya know, any mean hateful or judgey comments will be deleted. there's plenty of other places on the interwebs to spew bile, so please only kind words.
Linking in with Shell for "Pour Your Heart Out"